The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) Academy annually awards four script development grants of USD 25,000 each to four APSA Academy members, at the grand APSA ceremony held in Brisbane, Australia every year. APSA is regarded as the highest accolade in film in the region, and these grants provide significant support to enable stories from the region reach the global stage. Winners in the past have included Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi (for A Separation, which went on to win an Academy Award) and Australian writer-director Rolf de Heer (for Mr. Ward’s Incredible Journey).
This year they have collaborated with the Screenwriters Association, India (SWA, formerly FWA) in a bid to encourage the inclusion of more Indian writers in this program. As a result of this outreach, the script-treatments of 10 SWA members have been short-listed and will be in consideration for the script development grant by the APSA jury.
Additionally, two award trips were offered exclusively for SWA members. Anusha Rizvi (with her story: The Great Shamsuddin Family) has won the opportunity to attend the 5-day Film Immersion Course, LATC Global Film and Television Program in Los Angeles, including an introduction to the American Film Market. And, Suman Mukhopadhyay (story: Paradise in Flames) has won an invitation to the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in November this year.
Speaking about the collaboration, Anjum Rajabali, Screenwriter and Executive Committee Member, SWA said, “This is an important step that MPA and SWA have taken, which should give a tremendous boost to Indian screenwriting! While India is a nation of marvelous stories and storytellers, we need to pay more attention to the craft of professional screenwriting. This initiative offers them an opportunity to compete with the best of international screenwriters.”
APSA Chairman Michael Hawkins said that the Asia Pacific Screen Awards enjoyed a close relationship with the MPA and was thrilled to see APSA Academy members involved in the Launch Your Script initiative. “The Asia Pacific Screen Awards have a rich history of celebrating Indian cinema and our APSA Academy has breadth of both up-and-coming and veteran filmmakers who call India home. The initiative was a great opportunity for filmmakers and industry to collaborate and share knowledge.”
Stephen Jenner, Vice President – Communications, Asia Pacific, Motion Picture Association, and Asia Pacific Screen Academy Member said, “There is a wealth of emerging filmmaking talent in India that would benefit from the support offered by this exciting initiative.”
Siddharth Roy Kapur, said, “Indian films have the potential to reach out to audiences across the globe, wider than just the South Asian diaspora. Their acceptance will only grow if we continue to enhance our quality of work through strategic collaborations and a continuous exchange of creative ideas. I hope many great Indian screenplays find their way to the big screen through this unique initiative by SWA and the Motion Picture Association.”